Old Grand-Dad 114 Review

Old Grand-Dad 114 Review

Old Grand-Dad 114 is the best bourbon in the Old Grand-Dad lineup. It tastes better than any of the others, it smells better than any of the others, it has a better finish than the others, has a higher proof than the rest so you can dialing it in to your liking and it’s 1/2 the cost of Basil Hayden’s. In fact, it’s everything that Basil Hayden’s should be but isn’t.

This bottle proves that Jim Beam could make Basil Hayden’s a much better bourbon if they wanted to… and the should. Right now BH sits in the awkward position of being a lackluster bourbon in a fancy bottle in a lineup of good bourbons. It stands out like a sore thumb because compared to the others it’s limp and light, but enough about the overpriced woes of BH, we’re here to talk about Old Grand-Dad 114.

Old Grand-Dad 114 Info

Region: Kentucky, USA

Distiller: Jim Beam
Mashbill: 63% Corn, 27% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Cask: New charred oak
Age: 6 years
ABV: 57%

Price: $26

Old Grand-Dad 114 Review

EYE
Dark amber

NOSE
Oh man this is nice. Rich and full the aroma is layered with notes of dark fruit, caramel heavy dark sweets, vanilla, bold spice, hay, oak and a syrupy sweet undertone. It needs a bit more of those rustic earthy notes to fully balance it out, but it’s nice nonetheless.

PALATE
The flavor contains more facets than the aroma and, like the nose, is nice and rich. Oak, caramel heavy dark sweets and dark fruit give way to, and mix with, notes of leather, hay, pepper and baking spices. A feathery light bit of vanilla comes and goes like a flash in the distance.

FINISH
Long and oaky with bits of hay, chunks of caramel and a light drizzling of syrupy sweetness.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
The nose is a bit un balanced, but the flavor and finish both have a nice symmetry to them. A full round body and a heavy warm mouthfeel compliment the rich character.

OVERALL
Old Grand-Dad 114 is great and if the nose were balanced out it would be in the 90s but, as is, it’s the one thing keeping it out right now. Regardless, it’s still a great bourbon with a hearty, sweet and rustic, character that’s easy to enjoy. It comes in at a high proof and adding a splash of water helps open it up a bit. A splash can also help tame it if it’s feeling hot for your tastes. OGD 114 is a tasty full bourbon with a lot to offer and if you get the chance, give it a try.

SCORE: 89/100

Old Grand-Dad 114 Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose -
  • Palate -
  • Finish -
  • Balance, Body & Feel -

Value

Old Grand-Dad 114 is a fantastic value. It’s the king of the OGD lineup delivered at a working man’s price.

Old Grand-Dad 114 label

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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83 Responses to Old Grand-Dad 114 Review

  1. Josh, you strike me as being too “on the ball” to not get the point of Basil Hayden’s being at 40% ABV (and you do seem to be going beyond expressing personal taste and expressing genuine puzzlement). The four members of the Jim Beam Small Batch Collection are purposely made with four different levels of alcoholic strength: a high-strength whiskey, a low-strength whiskey, and two in the middle with even those two being slightly different in ABV. I love robust whiskey and could happily live in a world in which every whiskey was bottled at cask strength and amounted to a veritable punch in the mouth, but we both know that there are an awful lot of people out there who think that the highest compliment they can pay a whiskey is to say that it is “smooth.” The Scotch industry doesn’t seem to mind selling quite a few single malts at 40% ABV, but it has always struck me as odd that in the US bourbon industry 40% is reserved for “the cheap stuff.” I think the Jim Beam distillery was quite shrewd in seeing that there was a hole in the market: people who want mild bourbon don’t necessarily want to always buy bottom shelf. Basil Hayden’s is pretty much the only “fancy” Kentucky bourbon targeted at the 40% lovers. I see no reason to begrudge that segment of the market their Basil Hayden’s while I am buying my Booker’s.

    • Moretears, I certainly understand the point you are making, but considering that the difference between 40% ABV and 50% ABV is the amount of water added, it is not too much of a stretch to understand why a more watered down whiskey would be considered less desirable. I’m not a fan of Scotch and tend to order the easier drinking varieties because I don’t care for the dry, peaty flavor profile. But my taste is the opposite when it comes to American whiskey. I like the sweeter, richer profile and the stronger the better.

      On to the subject, OGD 114 is the only bottle of bourbon I have ever thrown out after one pour. I must have gotten a bad bottle because it was undrinkable. It was strong, but dry and tasted of burnt leather and cardboard. But based on Josh’s review here, I’ll have to give it another shot.

    • The puzzlement isn’t about why it exists in the tiered setup they have, but why anyone would pay $52 for OGD 80 in a fancy bottle. Especially after removing the 8 year age statement. It’s not about a desire to only drink big cask strength whiskeys, heck George Dickle 12 is one of my favorite sit-back-and-relax pours and it’s only 45%. So I don’t begrudge them for only bottling it at 80 proof, I begrudge them for slapping such a huge price tag on something that they already have in the market. It’s an obscene thing to pull over on the everyday consumer. It would be no different than if they just bottled some of the regular Jim Beam mashbill as a 40% NAS, wrote “small batch” on it, said it was “a little bit older” and charged $52. Everyone would look at that and start yelling about how it has no distinguishing difference between it and Jim Beam White. It would be a shitty practice there and it’s a shitty practice here. Make it a 10 year and keep it at 80 proof or make it a CS single barrel… something.

  2. I bought a bottle of this around the first of the year, based on good reviews. I tried for months to like it, but almost poured it out before gutting up and finishing it off recently. Then I found out it was a Beam product. No wonder I had to choke it down! I can’t stand Beam whiskies!

  3. An 89 rating? This stuff is hot and overbearing. Pepper spice and rye with a little Beam funk peanut taste under tons of young alcohol. Even smelling it I get little of anything beyond just alcohol and burns my nose.

    I just don’t understand the internet praise of this one. It isn’t the proof as I have had higher that didn’t seem this hot. Sure, watering it down or an ice cube tames it and one can then maybe start to enjoy the not very complex flavor of rye and pepper, but this one to me is more of a mixer type or to do shots of to get drunk.

    I’m on my second bottle of this TRYING to give it the benefit of doubt and find the 89 rating and internet praise in it. But half way through I am ready to just give it to my drunk neighbor.

  4. If you like rye-forward spicy whiskeys, OGD 114 is a rye-lovers bargain. Most places you can find it for $20-$25 a bottle. I also agree with you 100% on your comments thrashing Basil Hayden. BH was one of my biggest disappointments in a higher-priced bourbon. #nodisrespecttobakers7orbookers

  5. Old grand dad 114 is by far the best I have had many different and I will recommend old grand dad 114 to all unfortunately I’ve moved from Oklahoma to Texas and can’t find it in any liqueur stores

  6. Josh, Seems like you need a pro-OGD 114 post up in here. I think you’re right on the money with your review and Comments responses. But as Chuck Cowdery put it (paraphrasing) it’s a distinctive and legitimate style of bourbon, which I suppose means that it may not be for everyone.

    It’s also interesting to observe selective expectation bias in action (and not just here): When Beam bought OGD from National Distillers, they kept the same mashbill and yeast for it (unlike Old Crow, which they replaced with Beam whiskey). I suspect OGD only tastes like Beam juice if one expects it to….

  7. I’m 56 and have only been drinking bourbon now for three months. Of the “barrel proofs”, I’ve enjoyed Stagg Jr (batch 4), Elijah Craig Barrel Proof (batch 8), and OGD 114. While I mostly prefer the Stagg Jr and ECBP over OGD 114, I must say that for what I paid ($29.00) it is a VERY nice tasting bourbon. I agree totally agree with Josh’s summation of OGD 114.

  8. After quite a bit of searching my wife snagged a bottle of OGD14 for me for Christmas. Boy am I glad she went the extra mile. This is a surprisingly nice bourbon. I tried it neat on Christmas night and was very pleasantly surprised. Yes, it is big, bold and brash but still (for me) easy to drink neat. Nicely complex flavor, just the right amount of heat and a fantastically long finish. I’m going to have to keep this on my watch for list as it is not very common here in Baltimore.

    Happy Holidays Josh!

      • Ahhhhhh … Picked up another bottle tonight. Thinking I need to visit my Old Grand Dad a bit more often. Really seeing the sweet aspects of the nose on this bottle and it carries over nicely to the palate. Still that long warm finish too. I now have three “daily drinkers” on my shelf. Buffalo Trace (Special Barrel Select from my local store), Wild Turkey 101 (just plain awesome) and OGD 114 (family knows best!).

  9. I’ve been an OGD 114 fan since I first discovered it a couple of years ago. I agree with your take. Its amazingly smooth & complex for such a high proof, low priced whiskey. I also agree with your criticism of Basil Hayden, which is a double rip off since they quietly removed the age statement. IMO, with its high price, fancy bottle & low proof, it’s aimed squarely at well heeled novices who want a pleasant sipper that they can drink neat without choking.
    BTW, re OGD 114, like many whiskeys, IMO benefits enormously from being opened, consumed down to the shoulders & allowed to rest a bit. Evaluating any whiskey right out of the bottle, even if you let it sit for a while & swirl it, is a big mistake. A little time & some air in the bottle really smooths out the taste & give a much better yardstick of potential.
    Re 80 proof Scotch. Compare Glenlivet 12 at 80 with their Nadurra @ 106 & you’ll find that Scotch is an order of magnitude tastier when it’s not so watere down.

  10. I’m working on my first 750 of OGD114 and enjoying it. It strikes me a bit differently at different times, but has leveled off into a profile that I really like. At first I loved the finish, then was getting a sour off-putting flavor at the very end, but that seems to have gone away as I’ve gotten used to it. I drink an ounce with one ice cube, or chill it in the freezer without the ice, or mix it with an assortment of juices and egg nog. For my money and enjoyment it’s a bargain.

  11. Really enjoyed my first bottle and will keep it on my shelf. It’s hot at first! But if you let it relax into some ice, it tastes great. The finish isn’t as long as i like, but good good good…

  12. This good stuff! What whiskey is supposed to be. It’s hot, leathery, peppery, spicy and kicks you in the nuts. It’s dry, not much more then a hint of semi-sweetness. It’s minty and mean, just like whiskey should be. Well worth the money.

  13. I am now building a stash of OGD114 batch 1, cause I don’t know how good batch 2 will be. There is a dent in the ceiling over my “tasting” desk where the first large sip sent me up out of my chair – from delighted surprise.

    In a proper glass, a smallish brandy snifter, this stuff rocks. Straight with a bit of air time. I may eventually try it with a bit of water, but it is right – straight.

    In future, I may actually nose it and look for palate sensations. Or not.

    This is the risk that HH ran when they NAS’d Elijah Craig. Price so close and the EC can’t touch the OGD114. One would have to go to the EC barrel proof, I think.

    • I just finished a bottle of EC Barell Proof. My oh my is that stuff nice. Full of flavor, just the right amount of heat and easy to drink for a 130+ proof. But, now to the OGD 114. Quickly becoming a must have on my shelf. Pretty much the same thing can be said about this as was said about the EC BP. Very tasty and fun to drink. As Josh says … Cheers!

  14. My state’s ABC stores just started carrying this one. I love it. Great nose…peanut brittle, vanilla, hay, oak and leather. All the good smells from an old barn. Heavy sweet with dry roast peanuts. Hot, but pleasant finish. Lingering taste of cinnamon redhots. Neat is the way to go with this one. A perfect sipper. One of my top five bourbons.

  15. Josh
    59 years young and a life long drinker (hey I’m from Wisconsin, hey), but as I have gotten older I have migrated from beer to liquor (hard to do as I have relation who owns part of Sprecher Brewwery in Milwaukee); with Whisk(e)y, Rum and Tequilla as my go to spirits. Over the last five years or so I have tasted just about everything with a brown tinge and I seem to line up with many of your higher bourbon ratings you express on your blog. WT 101, OGD, OGD 114, Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace are all in my rotation at the home bar. I just picked up a bottle of 114 at $20.99 while next to it OGD BIB was priced at $24.99? I drink both, but at that price I picked up two bottles of 114. By the way a 1.75 of WT 101 was priced at $34.99 (you have to love Woodmans).

    • Hey Kenneth, thanks for sharing. You’re right on the money about those whiskeys and I currently have one of each in my house as well, so cheers to that. And holy cow, $35 for a 1.75 of WT 101, that’s amazing!

  16. Josh, Great review, dead on. The rye reminds me a little of Rittenhouse. This is one very intriguing whiskey. Find it a little bit out of balance compared to the EC12. All in all a very good whiskey!

  17. Mmm mmm. I like this bourbon! I want this on my whiskey shelf.
    The nose surprised me. I expected this 114 proof to hit me. Nope, the nose is light… well, ok. As it hit my tongue, I sure felt some heat. This bourbon isn’t just heat, though. It’s loaded with layers of favor. I’m a serious coffee drinker and this has some dark, roasty notes I love! And happily, the finish lingers. Mmm, hot, sweet, and dark.
    And then, to top it off, it’s under $30!!

  18. My favorite bourbon is the one sitting in front of me and I try to make sure OGD 114 is always available. I had to order it from my favorite liquor store and I was shocked that the retail price was $19.99!!! I asked them to check and make sure they weren’t pricing the OGD bottled-in-bond or 86 proof. Nope….they charge $19.99 for this great bourbon! I enjoy this grand bourbon neat. (Of course I enjoy most whiskies neat). As always…thanks for a great review.

  19. Josh , I really enjoy reading this site !!! I’m a guy that just digs Bourbon/Whiskey since I was a teen back in the late 70’s and 80’s . So , I’m no expert . But man , I do really love this OGD 114 ! It’s what all the other OGD offering wish they could be . I have a half dozen bourbon/Whiskey bottles of different brands at my home at any time and this is the bottle i keep replacing . It’s my favorite . Apparently , it’s not sold all over cause I have friends across the country that cant find it . I’m in the Georgia mountains on the Tennessee . North Carolina line an it’s available to me the next county over .. I consider myself lucky 🙂
    Again , I enjoy this site and am a bit envious of the Bourbons youve tried . keep it up and Enjoy ! Cheers

    • Cheers John and thank you! I’m glad you can find it and you (we) are indeed lucky. I have friends in control states that can’t find it either and always smuggle bottles back when they’re out traveling.

  20. Rushing off to work. I know you check these posts Josh. Can you post this one, and delete the other one please. Rushed, lousy grammar, and failed spell check:

    Your review is accurate. The only thing I’d add, is that this stuff is truly first rate. The name doesn’t connotate “super high end stuff,” but ironically it’s pretty damn high grade, with no doubt. I’d easily take this in a heartbeat over the overrated Eagle Rare. It’s damn near barrel proof, superbly priced, and is complex as hell. I’d give a SOLID 93.

    Gotta admit Josh is about as accurate as a tuning fork. He really can hit the subtle notes, and call out the elements of almost any bourbon that he get his hands on . . . accurately!

  21. Just took my first sips of OGD114. This stuff rocks! I was just drinking Four Roses small batch before this, which I think is a great whiskey, but this blows it away in the boldness and intensity of flavor, and at the same price as 4RSB, this is a steal. Going back to the store tomorrow to snag a few more in case the rumors are true that this is going bye bye next year

  22. In the ’60’s, I would buy my Old Grandad 100 proof by the gallon, as I had the rocking chair holder for the bottle. At that time, the cost was $32.50 a gallon in Chicago. I never worried about the nose, as I simply enjoyed the opportunity to drink what to me was a fine bourbon that did NOT burn when swallowing. I still have a gallon jug from those old days that has not been opened since I take warfarin and am not allowed the pleasure of whiskey any more. I also have a 1/2 bottle of Eagle Rare at 114 proof. It is also GOOD! By the way, I am 80 years old and had the misfortune of tasting some poor bourbons of the day.

    • Hey Darrel,

      Thanks for sharing and that’s too bad, but it’s seriously cool that you still have one of those gallon bottles. I’ve seen those with the swings and I’ve always wanted one. They always look quite impressive when I see them setup. Cheers!

  23. Last night I think I found the last bottle of 114 in Massachusetts! At least I haven’t seen it elsewhere. As much as I want to crack it open now, I’m going to wait a bit. Also still looking for Weller, which is almost impossible to find around here.

      • Irrational exuberance. After picking up the “last bottle” of 114 for $33, I saw a few bottles at the local liquor supermarket for $30 each. Then I saw some at Total Wines for $25, so bought another. No big deal, but sometimes in the rush to not miss out we collectors can exaggerate the scarcity of a product. Thanks for the great info.

  24. Love me some OGD 114. Cleaned out the last few bottles in Nashville at the end of last year. Will drink one per quarter for the next 5 years….then cry – like a little girl.

  25. The manager at my local state run store confirmed that the warehouse had told him they have no more and will get no more. I was holding out hope for a miracle, but alas…it was not to be. RIP Old Grand Dad 114.

  26. OLD GRAND-DAD 114 GETS RENEWED LEASE ON LIFE, FOR NOW, This what I found in an on-line item dated 15 Feb 17. According to the news item it won’t be discontinued this year. I started stockpiling last year. It’s a very fine bourbon at $25, great nose, full in the mouth feel, great taste, Just a bit better than the OGD 100. Thanks for the review. Ray F

  27. OGD 114 is now almost impossible to find. Everywhere I have seen it before now says discontinued…. hope this is only short term. Everyone I have talked to said they don’t know when it’s coming back…. is this the end, or just a temporary shortage?

  28. Hit the lotto found 3 bottles of 114 in truck stop liquor store for $18.99 on sale. Would of bought more if they had just got 3 bottles of Weller 12 black this week and a Elmer t Lee single on Friday. Any one close to Kansas need a drink

  29. Found it on the shelves at Spec’s last week and for some reason, I did not pick any up. I went back today and picked them all up and into my basket. At case price, I got them for about $21 each. Regardless of what Jim beam decides, I won’t run out for a while. Best bang for your money.

  30. I have to say… This is my favorite bourbon on the shelf. From the first pour I ever took I was HOOKED. The cinnamon and rye spice with a few cubes that barrel reveals itself and proof cuts a bit. Just a really beautiful dram for every occasion. I hooked my FIN on this stuff. For me it sits right next to my 1792 small batch store pick. They keep me safe and warm in the cold north! Cheers.

  31. After reading the reviews picked up a bottle of OGD 114 on a business trip to KY this week. Haven’t seen it in NE Ohio where I reside. Saw plenty on the shelves in several stores, mostly $25-$30. First pour tonight (neat) and I’m a believer. To me, very reminiscent of Knob Creek SB which I’m a big fan of. Great depth of flavors with a nice long, spicy finish that gets your attention and that’s just what I like. Can’t be beat for less than $30. Hope it stays somewhat off the radar. Really enjoy your reviews Josh and you nailed it again on this one. Keep ’em coming. Maybe we should all dummy up about OGD 114 so the word doesn’t get out any more than it already has!

  32. I bought a bottle today in Austin. $19.99 was a steal I thought. I have been looking for it the last couple of months. I was pleasantly surprised. I like the rye heavy taste and the light burn I get, only in the mouth though. The finish is also long, sweet and warm. Sorry I am not sophisticated enough to tell you what flavors I taste. I can tell you that the nose does not live up to the taste. Thanks for the review and recommendation Josh. I may have just found my daily bourbon, when I’m out of KC 120.

  33. This is great stuff. It gave me a great weekend of sipping. My car ran out of gas in the way home and I poured some in the tank and it hot me to the gas station! Then when I got home, I noticed the kids got some paint on the side of the barn. This took it right off. Great stuff!

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